Salina Public Library Local History Collection

Thumbnail image of the 1st page   Title: Letter from Robert Muir, Jr., Salina, KS, to his parents, Robert, Sr., and Jane Muir in Sparta, IL
Author: Robert Muir, Jr.
Date: August 27, 1866
Type: manuscript
Physical description: 1 sheet (4 p.) ; 5 x 8 in.
Note: Letter mentions that the baby has started "to creep," farming matters and the likelihood of the railroad coming through Salina the following fall.

View the original letter: pages 1, 2, 3, 4


27 August 1866 Salina

Dear Parents

I have waited long and patiently for an answer to a letter I sent you a good while ago, but no answer yet, and but little prospect of one. So I have concluded to try again as I would like uncommon well to get a letter and hear how you are getting along. Since I last wrote we have been getting along as well as could be expected. We have been blessed with good health, plenty to eat and wear and a little more to do than we care about. Our little boy or rather I might say big boy, for he is a buster [sic], has never had a day's sickness and has been growing and doing fine. He has been able to sit alone for the last month and within the last few days he has started to creep and rise to his feet by the side of the cradle. We feel very proud over him and I know you would too if you seen him. We have had a very wet season here up to the middle of last month. But since then no rain of any consequence which is telling on the last corn pretty sorely and on early corn too, but not so much, it being in the milk before the dry weather affected it. Had it rained about two good showers in the last four weeks there would have been the heaviest yield of corn ever harvested in western Kansas. As it is, early corn will give a very good crop from 40 to 50 bhls per acre, late corn on old ground from 25 to 35 and on newly broken up prairie sod but very little. The wheat crop done very well for chance it had, it being all less or more damaged by high winds in the spring. I had to plow nearly all of mine down and put in corn. You may wonder how it is that wind can ruin the wheat. Spring wheat is what I have reference to. The best description I can give is to tell you to imagine you see soil which is naturally very light and which becomes almost as fine as ashes by the actions of the frost drifting before the wind like snow. Such a wind as you seldom if ever experience in Illinois, and you have it. The fall wheat done remarkably well and is a good article of wheat. I bought 80 acres of school land since I last wrote. One half at 3 dollars, the other at 5 per acre making in all 300 dollars with ten years to pay it in ten equal installments. I considered it very cheap. It joins my claim on the north and has a running stream of water through one corner of it, which gives me a good watering place for my stock on my own land which was my principle reason for buying and a farm for little Bob too. What to (do?) you think of the silly cullans (?) that went away back out of the way from any place stepping aboard of the cars at Salina next fall and land in St. Louis in about the same length of time it would take you from Sparta. That is a fixed fact now and no mistake. In consequence of the railroad coming through here the land has nearly all been taken up and the chances for a poor man coming in here now is pretty slim compared with [what] it was. We are all busily engaged at present putting up hay. Willie and I have got up 50 tons and intend putting up 30 or 40 tons more. John's at work 30 miles west of here and I have not seen him since I left. I must close by saying that we are all well. Hoping this may find you in the enjoyment of the same thing. Mother, I want you to write soon and tell me how you are all getting along, when I say all I mean the whole family. Give our love to all.

Your son and daughter Robert and Nancy Muir

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